DisplayMate 2.10 Multimedia29 Feb, 2004 By: Ron LaFon
The industry standard for testing graphic displays.
DisplayMate has long been our standard suite for testing graphic displays, so when a new edition ships, it's noteworthy. Not only is DisplayMate one of the standard benchmarks used by Cadalyst, it's a standard throughout the industry. DisplayMate 2.10 is available in various versions: DOS, Windows, video, and the multimedia edition I tested. A motion edition requires Matrox Millennium series video cards running Windows 95/98/ME.
DisplayMate 2.10, Multimedia Edition displays its master test pattern screen.
DisplayMate Multimedia Edition is the advanced professional version of DisplayMate for Windows. It offers more than 300 advanced test patterns plus 200 additional pattern variations. Each test pattern comes with a detailed description and a "What To Look For" section that lists issues and artifacts to search for in the displayed image.
The test patterns are generated in real time from scale-free mathematical equations so they work for any resolution and aspect ratio, with no preset resolutions or aspect ratios.
As LCD monitors with higher resolutions and wider aspect ratios become standard fare these days, DisplayMate supports all resolutions up to 4096X4096 and all color modes from monochrome up through full 24-bit or 32-bit color. It also supports all screen shapes and aspect ratios, including landscape, portrait, and HDTV 16:9, up to a super-wide maximum of 3.3.
DisplayMate Multimedia Edition includes special suites of patterns for testing CRTs, analog and digital LCDs, projectors, plasma displays, microdisplays, and video boards. Patterns are also provided for color printers, TVs and HDTVs, and NTSC/PAL television encoders and decoders. Special test patterns are designed for use with instrumentation such as color analyzers, photometers, waveform monitors, and oscilloscopes.
This version of DisplayMate runs on any video board and monitor supported by Windows, automatically configuring itself to run under Windows XP, Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT/2000, or Windows 3.1x. You can also use it on OS/2 and on Apple Macintoshes and UNIX workstations using Windows emulators such as Soft Windows or Virtual PC. As noted earlier, a DOS version is available.
DisplayMate has proved to be a capable and flexible benchmark for testing here at Cadalyst, offering a variety of options for conventional and LCD monitors. It's so comprehensive that it's hard to imagine what can be added, yet each new release not only keeps pace with display technology, but also adds depth and flexibility to tests that are already incorporated into the product. With a price of $495, this product is not targeted at the casual user. For those who must determine the capabilities of a monitor in depth, DisplayMate is simply the best.
One useful feature in DisplayMate Multimedia Edition is a flexible command script processor that runs and produces fully automated demos and custom test suites. The Automatic Program Mode simplifies script creation-just give the script a name and select which tests, variations, colors, and fonts you want. Then activate the timer, and the patterns automatically sequence and repeat. You can use DisplayMate interactively, even when a script is running, and you can reverse scripts to go back for a closer look at something. DisplayMate provides forty script commands and comes with ten sample command scripts.
The installation program on the tested version doesn't yet support long path names, so installation essentially must be off the root directory. A new installation program is being developed, but was not ready for evaluation when we went to press. You don't need to install DisplayMate to run it. Inserting the CD-ROM in a drive automatically starts the application, which runs quite nicely from the CD-ROM.
DisplayMate didn't become a standard by accident. It's a superb, well thought-out product that keeps growing and improving. Even with the new features and depth of individual tests, the interface remains simple and easy to use.